Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Ray

As I was reading DC's December 2011 solicitations yesterday, my heart jumped at the sight of The Ray #1. The Ray has long been one of my favorite characters, thanks to an awesome character design and a great, snarky-yet-hopeful personality. Priest's Ray series from the mid-90s was one of the best series of the decade, in my opinion. So I was excited to see the Ray showing up in the new DC Universe... until I realized it wasn't my Ray. Here's the solicitation copy:

THE RAY #1Written by JUSTIN GRAY and JIMMY PALMIOTTIArt by JAMAL IGLE and RICH PERROTTACover by JAMAL IGLEOn sale DECEMBER 14 • 32 pg, 1 of 4, FC, $2.99 US • RATED TGet ready for a brand new Ray! Lucien Gates’s life is changed forever when he is struck by a mysterious beam of energy that turns him into a glowing gladiator – and being a human ray of light comes in handy when his city is suddenly under attack from giant, building-sized monsters. Unfortunately, light powers are less than handy in keeping his girlfriend happy!
And the cover:

It's not horrible, but it's not this:

I tend to be of the opinion that if it ain't broke, don't fix it, but I also believe in giving new ideas a chance before I pass judgment. So I'm willing to try out this new Ray, even if the new series won't fill my nostalgia bucket the way a new series about Ray Terrill would, and even if the new guy does look like an old man in the cover image, despite the fact that he's supposed to be nineteen. With that spirit of trying to be open-minded, I read the interview with Gray and Palmiotti posted on Newsarama this afternoon and was encouraged by this:

Nrama: Will readers see his origin? Or how will you introduce him?
Gray: We wanted to mess with the origin story formula because so many superhero movies are centered squarely on that moment. How many times can you watch someone test out his or her powers and make goofy mistakes? How many times have we seen someone design a costume or screw up his or her first night on patrol? With The Ray we tried to take a different look at the origin story. We want The Ray to be fun and strange and very human mixed with incredible action sequences provided by the incredibly talented Jamal Igle.
Palmiotti: You just pick up the first issue and it has everything a superhero comic should have...the who , what and why of the character as well as the two things we always ask ourselves- what do they want and what do they fear. We answer all of these and then Jamal took what we wrote and made it even better.
As I've mentioned before, done-in-one issues work best for the digital comics medium, in my opinion. If I'm paying three bucks to download something, then I want a complete something, not part one of six. Gray and Palmiotti don't outright say they're doing single-issue stories, but their comments suggest to me that they're aiming to deliver a full story with issue one, rather than the beginning of a decompressed origin story. I hope that's the case. Either way, I look forward to what I hope is a return to superheroes being introduced in stories about superheroes, not fledgling superheroes going through the same old steps of the obligatory origin story. 

I'll definitely give the first issue a shot, and considering the creative team there's a good chance I'll like it. I'll let you know. 

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